"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Bold Italic

Location: San Francisco, CA

Website: www.thebolditalic.com

The Bold Italic is an online magazine and events hub in San Francisco. We celebrate the free-wheeling spirit of the city.

We are a chorus of voices. The Bold Italic publishes first person stories by locals on issues and topics that are on the brains and lips of San Franciscans.

We are not a news site, we’re a hub for conversations to be heard and discussed. Some of the pieces we publish will make you laugh. Some will have you nodding your head in agreement. And others will completely piss you off. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of The Bold Italic, but they are the true opinions, experiences, and thoughts of writers from the diverse community we live amongst. Whatever feelings our stories incite, we hope our continuing conversation will get you thinking, talking, and inspire you to share your opinions with us on living in San Francisco. If you’ve got a compelling story or perspective to share, we want to hear it.

We support businesses. The merchants, food carts, coffee shops, galleries, bars, and bookstores we patronize everyday are an undeniable part of how we understand and define our lives, personal spaces, and communities. It’s our mission to commemorate the greatness, beauty, innovation, and heart involved in doing business.

We inspire you to live life out in the city. There are amazing things happening around you. The content,events, and products we offer are designed to invite you to get off the computer and take part in the experiences right outside your door.

We help localize brands. Through our storytelling and bespoke experiences, we create authentic connections that bring brands to life at a personal level.

We know design matters. We understand that beautiful design uplifts. We enhance, provide valuable context, and extend the reach of our content with original illustration, photography, and thoughtful graphic design.

The Bold Italic is owned by Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI).

Since our launch, The Bold Italic has strived to faithfully serve San Franciscans near and far, whether born and bred here or having just arrived in the city. We have a great passion for the Bay Area and all that it has to offer — and have had a lot of fun sharing our enthusiasm with you. Together we have built a strong community of followers, contributors, and partners. However, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations. It’s been a great run and we supremely thank everyone who has supported us along the way.


Location:  Philadelphia, Baltimore and Detroit


The BMe Leadership Awards - BMe stands for "black male engagement" - are given to men who are working to make their communities stronger, the foundation said. Trabian Shorters, founder of BMe, said that "there are thousands of black men who are assets to their communities - and if the rest of us got behind people like these, the city would have more to celebrate."

BMe is a network of black men in Philadelphia, Detroit, and Baltimore, that includes professionals, academics, and organizers working on an assortment of community projects. There is no cavalry coming to save the day in communities across America. The visionary leaders that many are waiting for are already here," said Shawn Dove of Open Society Foundations, which also funds BMe.

Chris Rabb, an adjunct faculty member at Temple University, was awarded $20,000 to develop workshops to teach social entrepreneurship to low-wealth individuals. Rabb, author of Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity, said he shows people how to "build commonwealth enterprises" that produce benefits for the community. For example, he described starting a barbershop that was geared toward offering living-wage jobs for ex-offenders who cut hair. What if you could turn something like that into a chain of shops? he asked. Rabb said he expected to hold the workshops this summer.

Michael Gross and Bryheem Charity were awarded $10,000 to promote their efforts to "make science cool" in urban schools. They created S.T.E.A.M. Rising to stir "real interest, a passion, a focus, on science as a career," said Gross, a Drexel University graduate. S.T.E.A.M. represents science, technology, engineering, and math, known in educational circles as "STEM," with the arts included to add the "A," Gross said.

Christopher Norris of South Philadelphia was awarded $5,000 to bolster Techbook Online, a local news outlet for people and stories that are "routinely marginalized and left out of the headlines" of the mainstream media, he said. Norris said the money would help pay for equipment upgrades and for expanding the marketing reach of Techbook Online, which he started with Arthur L. Griffin Jr.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Glass House Collective

Location: Chatanooga, TN

Website: www.glasshousecollective.org

Entrepreneurial and Beta-minded, we gather diverse teams of talent to help revitalize historic Glass Street in East Chattanooga.

We see our work through three lenses, that help us prepare for impact:

Creative Placemaking - projects and programs that help artists and entrepreneurs capture and shape the flavor of the neighborhood,

Feet on the Streets - getting people out of their cars and into transforming experiences – through creative public events, and

New Partnerships - Using creativity as a resource for renewal to bring people together – those who have never been here before, as well as those who have lived and worked here for years.

Make It Fair

Location: California

Website: www.makeitfairca.com

Make It Fair is dedicated to closing the commercial property tax loopholes so we can continue to invest in strengthening our schools and important local priorities. We seek to make California’s tax code fair to all by phasing out loopholes in Prop. 13 that have allowed a handful of giant corporations and America’s wealthiest commercial property owners to dramatically lower their obligations to California families.

Our goals are simple: make commercial property taxes fair by re-assessing commercial and industrial property at fair market value so that we raise the revenue we need to fully fund our schools and community colleges, strengthen public safety and affordable housing, fix our roads, build transit, keep parks and libraries open and maintain other vital services. Since the passage of Prop. 13 the tax burden has been shifting away from giant corporations and wealthy commercial property owners to middle class homeowners and renters. Our reform will reverse this trend and raise billions to help rebuild California. We will also:
- Fully, 100% protect homeowners, renters and agricultural land.

- Provide tax relief for small businesses,

- Include tough transparency and accountability measures so that everyone can see how any additional funds are spent.

We’re building a strong grassroots coalition to spread the word about the need for commercial property tax reform. Join the fight to Make It Fair.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Non-Profit Quarterly

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.nonprofitquarterly.org

NPQ was launched as a national print journal in the winter of 1999 and was designed to fill a gap by providing credible, research based articles for nonprofits about management and governance. Soon after it began it also started to cover issues related to the operating environment for nonprofits, specifically public policy and philanthropy. The quarterly print journal soon became known as "The Harvard Business Review for the nonprofit sector."

In April 2006 NPQ spun off from its original parent and became an independent nonprofit. NPQ added an active online publishing component virtually overnight stemming from a realization that its readers needed a constant stream of well analyzed and contextualized information to stay abreast of an environment full of both unprecedented opportunity and unforeseeable peril, and so it started a daily send out of news and features. This material is designed to help nonprofit practitioners negotiate their rapidly changing landscape. NPQ’s budget did not expand as a result of the shift but instead it eventually began to call upon its readers to act as regular correspondents . This required a complete redesign of our revenue and publishing models.

This engagement of our readership in collaborative journalism model has expanded NPQ’s intelligence and its capacity to gather and analyze the news in real time and from a variety of perspectives. It is highly innovative, however, and one of many experimental models in the field of digital publishing. NPQ partners actively with many other groups to make sure that its readership and community is continuously expanding; and that it reflects the mix of organizational sizes and types in the civil sector. NPQ is a nonprofit based in Boston. It has six staff members and a board of directors;but what really fuels it and provides it its credibility are its community of volunteer content contributors/readers and cash contributors.

NPQ has always been known for its rigor and grounded understanding of nonprofits and philanthropy and it has always depended upon its readership to guide its editorial agenda. This is what keeps it relevant and a trusted source for hundreds of thousands of practitioners across the country and beyond. NPQ’s guiding philosophy is that an active and engaged and sometimes disruptive civil sector is critical to a healthy democracy in the same way that a free and independent press is.

NPQ is striving to be the authoritative independent news source for civil society and we will only get there with your involvement.

The Next System Project

Location: Nationwide:

Website: www.thenextsystem-.org

It’s time for everyone who cares about our troubled country to face the depth of the systemic crisis we now confront as a nation. We must step back from the daily fray and ask: How do we actually get on a path to the kind of society—and world—we’d like now and for future generations? We must begin a real conversation—locally, nationally, and at all levels in between—on how to respond to the profound challenge of our time in history.

"If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending,” Lincoln said, “we could better judge what to do.” Today’s answer to Lincoln’s charge is grim. If one looks at “where we are” among advanced democracies across more than a score of key indicators of national well-being—including relative poverty, inequality, education, social mobility, health, environment, militarization, democracy, and more—we find ourselves exactly where we don’t want to be: at or near the bottom.

The challenging realities of growing inequality, political stalemate, and climate disruption prompt an important insight. When big problems emerge across the entire spectrum of national life, it cannot be due to small reasons. When the old ways no longer produce the outcomes we are looking for, something deeper is occurring. We have fundamental problems because of fundamental flaws in our economic and political system. The crisis now unfolding in so many ways across our country amounts to a systemic crisis.

Today’s political economic system is not programmed to secure the wellbeing of people, place and planet. Instead, its priorities are corporate profits, the growth of GDP, and the projection of national power. If we are to address the manifold challenges we face in a serious way, we need to think through and then build a new political economy that takes us beyond the current system that is failing all around us. However difficult the task, however long it may take, systemic problems require systemic solutions.

The social pain arising from the economic crisis, the steady unfolding of the climate calamity, and many other deeply troubling developments have made it possible to pose the question of large-scale system change in a serious fashion in the United States. Yet, despite this new space for a debate about fundamental change, challenges to the system have until recently been constrained by a continuing lack of imagination concerning social, economic and political alternatives. It is said that the existing system is the only possibility, one we must accept and work with—that, as Margaret Thatcher famously insisted, “There is no alternative.” But she had it wrong.

The good news is that the inability of traditional politics and policies to address fundamental challenges has fueled an extraordinary amount of experimentation in communities across the United States—and around the world. It has also generated an increasing number of sophisticated and thoughtful proposals for transformative change. Together these developments suggest that it is possible to build a new and better America beyond the failed systems of the past and present. Indeed, new terms have begun to gain currency among diverse social movements and activist communities—an indication that the domination of traditional thinking has already started to weaken. Thus we encounter the sharing economy, the caring economy, the solidarity economy, the restorative economy, the regenerative economy, the sustaining economy, the resilient economy, and, of course, the new economy. There is talk of the need for a great transition. Several of these approaches already have significant networks and thoughtful research efforts underway. New thinking by creative scholars and members of the labor movement and community-oriented advocates is also contributing to the ferment.

It is time for Americans to think boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic difficulties facing the United States. It is time to explore genuine alternatives and new models—“the next system.” It is time to debate what it will take to move our country to a very different place, one where outcomes that are truly sustainable, equitable, and democratic are commonplace.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Center for Community Progress

Location: Nationwide

Website: www.communityprogress.net

Founded in 2010, the Center for Community Progress is the only national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization solely dedicated to building a future in which entrenched, systemic blight no longer exists in American communities. The mission of Community Progress is to ensure that communities have the vision, knowledge, and systems to transform blighted, vacant, and other problem properties into assets supporting neighborhood vitality.

As a national leader on solutions for blight and vacancy, Community Progress serves as the leading resource for local, state and federal policies and best practices that address the full cycle of property revitalization, from blight prevention, through the acquisition and maintenance of problem properties, to their productive reuse.

Community Progress provides technical assistance to communities nationwide, hosts the national Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference, and offers numerous other resources and services to help communities transform blighted properties into community assets.

Major support for Community Progress is generously provided by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Ford Foundation.